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A "temporary programming error at Visa Debit Processing Services" caused some 13,000 VISA pre-paid debit card holders to have incorrect transactions posted to their accounts, a story in CNN reports.

In one case, the "temporary programming error" allowed for a $23,148,855,308,184,500.00 purchase being posted to a customer's account - plus $15 in overdraft fees.

VISA said it would be removing the erroneous over charges and overdraft fees from affected customer accounts.

When this story came out, three thoughts crossed my mind. The first was that I guess VISA doesn't have any software upper bounds checks on transaction amounts or account balances to automatically catch problems like these. 

Second, VISA must be planning for hyperinflation to occur since it allows at least 17 digits in the dollar field to exist. Does VISA know something the rest of us don't? 

And finally, does VISA's use of the phrase "temporary programming error" imply that there are permanent programming errors - aka features - lurking about in their debit processing systems?



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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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